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In the Garage: 1972 Plymouth Duster 340

The 1972 Plymouth Duster 340 coupe is owned

The 1972 Plymouth Duster 340 coupe is owned by Bill Peysson. (Credit: Handout)

1972 Plymouth Duster 340 coupe owned by Bill Peysson

The muscular Duster 340 offered sporty good looks and barrels of fun at a modest price, even though it was conceived as the federal government began to rein in horsepower due to more stringent emission controls. “A note of significance, though a somewhat sad note to the muscle car era, is that 1972 was the first year they reduced horsepower guidelines for all the muscle cars,” Peysson says of his bright yellow coupe. “For example, prior years of my same car were advertised as 275 horsepower, an obvious underrated estimate practiced by all the manufacturers back then for insurance reasons. In '72, it was only rated at 235 horsepower.”

Since 2005

“I started to search hard at the beginning of 2005 for a replacement classic” for his vintage Cadillac convertible, which his brothers urged him to sell in favor of a muscle car, Peysson says. “Like many other baby boomers, I thought I'd look for something I owned as a young man. My first new car was a 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner. After it was stolen, my replacement was a new 1970 Duster 340.” During the search, he visited a Pennsylvania dealer, where he missed a chance to buy a 1967 Plymouth, but saw the Duster hiding in the back of the shop. After a test drive, he left for a trip to Ohio before calling the dealer and having the car shipped to his home.

“It was in great condition the day I bought it,” Peysson says. He installed a “positraction” rear end, as well as a new manifold and ignition. “I've since put thousands of miles on it, and she's never let me down. She's reliable and versatile, whether it's just to go cruising or blasting down the quarter mile at some of the race tracks I've been to. This spring will be spent getting her ready for the cross-country drive we’re making in July on the Lincoln Highway, in celebration of its 100th anniversary. I'll be making the journey with almost 100 classics that are being shipped here from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and a few other European countries.”

Peysson estimates the value between $15,000 and $20,000.

“I love this car,” he says. “I like how few of them I see on the road, too. Some cars are simply too plentiful for my taste. On a nice day, you can find me cruising down Ocean Parkway or just enjoying a local ride, even in the winter, as long as there's no snow on the ground.” 

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